I'd read about many gluten free friendly teas at various hotels in London. We selected this particular one to try, in part because it also offered a "Little Prince" or "Little Princess" Tea for kids (actually renamed a "Little Elves" Tea for the Holidays). At 12.50 pounds, it was much easier to stomach than paying the typically high price for tea (34.50 here, and typically anywhere from 20-50 pounds elsewhere) for kids who may not even be keen on some of the fancy items served. So the "Little Elves" tea, instead, served peanut butter and jam sandwiches, scones, cupcakes and other pastries, and hot cocoa. There was a gluten free version of this as well. How splendid! (They also offer a Vegetarian Tea.)
There were about 15 different teas to choose from -- varieties of black, oolong, green, white, flowering, and scented. Coffee and hot cocoa are offered as well. Our family chose four, all of which we shared with each other: the "Christmas blend" of black tea with spices, the "Chocolate Tea" (black tea with cocoa nibs and vanilla bean (unique and my particular favorite), Jasmine Green (my usual standby), and hot cocoa (this was the real stuff -- no powdered mix here!).
We ordered one gluten free version of the Traditional Afternoon Tea, one gluten free "Little Elves" tea, one "regular" Tradtional Afternoon Tea (for my husband) and one "regular" version of the "Little Elves Tea" (for our non-Celiac son).
The gluten free versions of the tea were almost identical to the "regular" ones. The scones were out of this world -- we'd never had gluten free versions of traditional English scones before. They were fantastic -- just right hint of sweetness and the perfect consistency. And that clotted cream just makes everything better now, doesn't it?! We were treated to incredibly moist cupcakes (not chocolate, but I couldn't quite put my finger on the flavor -- something more than simple vanilla -- and with a delicious cream cheese-based green frosting shaped like a Christmas tree with edible decorations). There was also a gluten free macaroon and a beautiful and delicious berry tartlet. The only thing lacking, if I had to say, were the sandwiches. While the gluten free bread was fine (just a tad dry), the fillings were very sparse. The variety was nice, and a bit more than just the traditional offerings. We had turkey with cranberry spread, ham and cheese, egg salad, cucumber and cream cheese, and smoked salmon. But the only sandwich that had much in it at all was the smoked salmon. The other fillings were so sparsely spread, that you could mostly just taste the bread. I found myself wishing for more of the filling and feeling just a bit short-changed, given the relatively high price (34.50 pounds, plus 12.5% gratuity) for the adult version of the tea.
The hotel is beautiful (at least the parts we saw)...traditional décor and decorated beautifully for Christmas (including an incredible gingerbread house displayed in the lobby (NOT gluten free, I'm sure!)
The Chesterfield Mayfair really treats kids well, too. They brought a bag full of activity books for our sons and then presented them each with an adorable small teddy bear (with Chesterfield Mayfair shirt) later on. What a nice keepsake to remember their first real English tea!
I'd give this tea a 5 palm rating, if the sandwiches were a bit heartier. Other than that, it was such a wonderful experience, and the service, as is typical in England, was friendly and polite.